11 MILES / 11 PHOTOS — people and things that caught my eye while trekking through Chicago one sunny morning.
A few important matters to get out-of-the-way. First, yes, that’s a Cooper in the background. It’s shallow of me to admit that my world comes to a halt whenever I see one. But not light blue, c’mon! It’s got to be black or red.
Second, is this guy ripped or what? His biceps are almost as big as my thighs. Question: Where does this guy play his trumpet? Answer: Anywhere he wants. Gotta problem with that?
Third (you wouldn’t know this because I didn’t take a wide-angle shot), no one is listening to him. It’s just him, his trumpet, his music stand, and me with my camera. During the time I watched him, lots of people walked by but nobody stopped long enough to listen.
Fourth, he’s not playing jazz, the blues, or show tunes. He’s playing church music, high church music: Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” from Symphony #9, composed in 1824. (Before you get too impressed with my vast knowledge of musicology, I need to come clean; though I immediately recognized the tune – the hymn is “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” — I got the rest of the info from Wikipedia).
I don’t know enough about angels to know if I believe in them; but if they exist, this trumpet player in a yellow T-shirt may have been one. Frederick Buechner in Wishful Thinking writes: “as a rule people see only what they expect to see . . . Since we don’t expect to see [angels], we don’t.”
For about a minute, his trumpet solo caused me to stop and pay attention. Heaven came closer to earth. The eternal invaded the temporal. I became aware of my breathing. He put a smile on my face. Heck, I didn’t notice the Cooper until I scrolled through the menu on my camera.
I wonder when you’ve last encountered an angel?